So I whipped up a quick Python Utility to model the behavior.

Initially, I intended to release the source code to that utility as part of this post, but Python is heavily whitespace dependent, and I ran into formatting issues. Instead, I’ve just included a print out of one of the reports I generated. If anyone is interested in having some code that can model results for you, send me a PM, maybe we can work something out.

The utility works as follows: A number of dice are rolled, and the successes are compared against a certain Limit. This is done 100,000 times for any given combination of dice from as low as 6 up to as high as 18, with limits ranging from 3 to 8.

Then the report gets a bit more granular of the results, and tallies the percentage of time that you would have exceeded the limit of 1 success, 2 successes, 3 successes, or 4 or more successes. In short, this helps measure how ‘painful’ a limit would be. For instance, infrequently losing one success is probably a mild annoyance. Losing two or three from time to time may be more than a mild annoyance. And of course, frequently losing 4+ successes is a great reason to raise those Limits!

Results below:

[ Spoiler ]

Some thoughts:

Rolling between 10 and 14 dice seems like it will be among the most common dice rolls. That represents a fairly proficient dice pool, that may include positive modifiers or skill specializations. The interaction with Limits there is interesting:

With 10 dice and a limit of 5, you’ll find that your successes are being clipped 7.6% of the time. Note that less than one half of 1% you’ll lose more than three successes. So frequently this is just an annoyance. If you outfit yourself with a Smartlink, and bump that Limit up to 7, it’s entirely possible that you can go your entire Shadowrun Career without having a significant impact from limits: 0.004% of rolls.

With 12 dice, and a limit of 5 you should probably prepare to be annoyed. Close to one in five rolls will be capped, though again don’t expect serious inconvenience. You will lose 3 successes 1.46% of the time, and 4+ successes 0.418% of the time. With a limit of 7, once again epic frustration requires epic deviations in probability: 0.042% chance for a roll to lose 3+ successes.

With 14 dice, you probably want to think about raising your limit. At that point, it’s time to get some custom gear. Limit: 5 is annoying or worse in close to one out of three rolls. About one in twenty rolls will cost you 3+ successes. With Limit: 6, that’s a bit more bearable. It goes down to under 2% of the time you’ll lose 3+ successes. And, of course, if you’ve got custom gear with a smartlink you’re sitting pretty: 1.765% chance you’ll run south of a limit. Losing out on 3 successes occurs 0.056% of the time. Losing 4+ occurs 0.009%(!!!) of the time.

Anyway! Hope the above is useful for all of you min/maxers out there who need to understand where your diminishing returns exist. And useful for any of you curious types who enjoy the elegance of the math “under the hood”.

Enjoy.

-Wired_SR_AEGIS